Right Thinking

Townhall is not a place I have linked to before because much of what I see there is more partisan than I would care to pass along. Surprisingly today there are two articles there that give me hope that there are still active Republicans who stand for something besides being not Democrats (there are also Democrats who are more than not Republican, but I discovered that a while back).

In the first column, the author rejects the most famous sound bite of the second Republican Presidential debate where the media latched on to the sound bite from Rudy Giuliani and allowed him to twist the words of Ron Paul about terrorism and 9/11 to the detriment of this less popular candidate. Ron Paul gave an insightful answer about the situation we are in but the media covered the sound bite response. Typical.

In the second column, the author reminds us what the Republican party used to be known for and what they claim to represent. By the time I was done with that I wanted to ask the current Republican party which is worse for our economy and our future generations – a spend and don’t tax leadership or a tax and spend leadership? The answer should be obvious. We need to be talking less about funding welfare and saving social security and more about helping people get off of welfare and helping them not be dependent on social security. More importantly we should be doing things to reduce the perceived need for such programs.

So my point is, it’s no wonder that things aren’t looking good for the GOP right now – their words (especially historically) and their actions are inconsistent. That is bound to inhibit people from trusting them even if they like their rhetoric. When people don’t trust them they are less likely to make an effort to vote for them.

About David

David is the father of 8 extremely organized children (4 girls / 4 boys) who is constantly seeking answers to tough questions related to parenting, education and politics while moonlighting for 40 hours each week as a technology professional. He also enjoys cooking, gardening, and sports.
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Comments

8 Responses to Right Thinking

  1. Hyrum says:

    Dave –

    I generally agree with your point about the GOP – they are in a spend cycle so vicious they don’t realize they are losing their constituency. Many Democrats like to cite the war as the reason they won in the last election, but the real reason they lost is that the Republican base is unhappy with the way they refuse to cut spending. You might try Hugh Hewitt on Townhall once in a while – I’ve found him to be right on about this topic, as well as less strident than most of the other voices.

    On the Ron Paul thing, I have to disagree. While Paul’s instinctive reaction was not irrational, when one does what Ron suggests and reflects on the motives of those who brought about 9/11 one finds that conciliation is not an option. Thus Rudy’s response. While I am not a Rudy fan generally (I find him to be a bit single-topic for my taste), I do side with him on this one. There is nothing, short of concession on all fronts, which will appease those who espouse terror in the name of Islam (or any other name, for that matter). Ron should have done his reflection long since and come up with those things he thinks we should do to help the Middle East. But to imply that the US cause 9/11 is a bridge too far. His answer implied either that he believed we brought 9/11 on ourselves, or that he had not thoroughly thought out the reasons for the attack. Either one is unacceptable in a presidential cantidate.

    Hyrum

  2. David says:

    I can understand your position on Ron Paul, however, I think that conciliation is not what he is looking for. I know that he has opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning but I think an important difference here is that he is not talking about giving in to the demands of the radical Muslims, he is talking about doing what he thinks is the right thing – namely being less interventionist.

    We may agree or disagree with him on whether he is right, but I think it would be false to characterize it as conciliation.

    I do have to agree with you that he did not help himself by his response, or lack thereof, to Rudy’s retort. He failed to distance himself from the impression that we brought 9/11 on ourselves. On the other hand, we have no hope of succeeding in the war on terror if we shut our eyes to the fact that our own missteps (starting decades before 9/11) in the middle east are part of the cause of terrorism.

  3. Jason Black says:

    David,

    In the last sentence of your response to Hyrum, you alluded to American missteps in the Middle East, some dating back decades. There is no question that mistakes were made, that foreign policy has not been what it should have been.

    However, considering the history of the Middle East, I think it safe to suggest that no reasonable course of action or foreign policy by the United States – or by any other western nation, for that matter – could have prevented terrorism. To suggest that “part of the cause of terrorism” was American foreign policy is absurd.

    Those who practice terrorism do so because they believe the unbelievable – that they are so right and that all others are so wrong that all but themselves must be destroyed.

    I can conceive of only two policy agendas that would have any chance at thwarting terrorism – First, we could annihilate any that could possibly be suspected of terrorism. Since they are difficult to distinguish from peace-loving members of their own countries, we’d have to destroy all who practice their religion. I’m against such a policy, for obvious reasons. Second, we could destroy freedom all over the globe, and force everyone to give in to the demands of the terrorists – that all forms of worship besides their own be obliterated. Again, I would oppose such a policy.

    I’m certain the U.S. and other nations made mistakes with regard to the Middle East. But the blame for terrorism can only be cast upon the terrorists themselves.

  4. David says:

    If I said that the fundamental cause of terrorism was American foreign policy that would be absurd, but I don’t think it’s absurd to say that it was a contributing factor.

    What causes people to think that “all others are so wrong that all but themselves must be destroyed?” I think that people don’t arrive at that kind of thinking unless many things are wrong. Some of those contributing factors are closed societies that discourage outside influence or interaction, lack of economic opportunity resulting in lack of self respect, and a basic disrespect for the sanctity of life.

    Aside from any influence we might have in their economic opportunity, none of those factors are caused by our foreign policy. On the other hand, with all those factors their must still be a target for terrorism. How did we become that target (and I know we are not the only one)? That is where our fault lies.

    Honestly, I don’t think that our economic influence is as much to blame as our pride and our basic disrespect for other cultures. We tend to act as if we think we are better than them, they strike back in any way they can. Because they come from a culture that is relatively closed and that holds little value for life (theirs or others), their response is kamikaze in nature.

    It is not our fault that they respond as they do, but we are partly to blame for the fact that they feel antagonistic towards us. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that we are partly to blame for terrorism against America.

  5. Jason Black says:

    Try to imagine a scenario in which all of your hopes for past conduct regarding U.S. relations with the Middle East were met. Imagine if we had acted as perfectly as we could have done. When I imagine this kind of scenario, I don’t see any less terrorism, even against the United States. What terrorists hate about the U.S. and the west is freedom. They don’t like the idea that people should think and do for themselves. They want their own ideas to rule, and all detracting ideas to be smothered. They denounce freedom, and we have it.

    I hold that regardless of our past and present actions, terrorists would still be terrorists.

  6. David says:

    Somehow the idea that they denounce freedom does not ring true for me. I’ve heard it many places, but I just don’t buy it. They denounce our lifestyle, and they denounce our actions, but freedom, I think they avoid speaking about it, unless they want to complain that it is the cause of the evils in our society.

  7. Hyrum says:

    I believe what you say is right, David, but only in a caricature fashion. What they see is the same thing you and I see when we look at the risque side of Hollywood and New York, and we condemn the risque side just as much as the believing Muslim does. I don’t think they denounce the general freedoms we hold, nor do they denounce our culture of production (just look at the success of products like Coke in the Middle East. My own company, Booz Allen, does pretty well over there too.)

    I recognize that my next comment may completely stifle the conversation. However, I have to state how I came to my current position. I firmly believe that removing firmly entrenched malignant dictators from power is a righteous activity. I think it is the right thing to do. I know we cannot do this everywhere, or even for any given dictator (as I believe Putin is becoming). However, I will not fault the US for choosing to remove dictators from power.

    Hyrum

  8. David says:

    Unless someone else wants to step in, you might be right that your final paragraph may end the conversation. Maybe you can ask Jason Black what I think about removing dictators (even the entrenched, malignant kind).

    I do think that many of us are as busy condemning the immoral elements of our society as any Muslim, but unlike them, we benefit from economic interventions of the United States while they often suffer because of our dominant financial position in the world. Thus they feel more hatred for those actions than we do. Also, we are less likely to see the haughty actions of rich and culturally insensitive Americans abroad (not that all rich Americans abroad are culturally insensitive, but some are). Once again, their view of us is not the same as our view of us.

    On the other hand, I think that if we were to really focus on cleaning up our society at home we will make more headway in changing the opinions of those we interact with in the world. Bombing other countries will not make us look better in the eyes of outsiders, even if we have good reasons. Condoning torture, even in the midst of war does nothing to improve our image either. There are certainly times to go on the offensive, but there is never a time to ignore our internal problems – thus my internal focus.

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